Paul Flowers, former chair of the Co-operative Bank, was investigated for allegations of false expenses claims while a trustee at Lifeline, the drug rehabilitation charity has said.
The claims by the charity’s chief executive, Ian Wardle, came as the Charity Commission revealed that it had written to all the charities of which an unnamed person, believed to be Flowers, had served as a trustee in order to check out their governance procedures.
A statement from Wardle said he informed the charity’s solicitor in 2004 of discrepancies in Flowers’ expenses claims.
An investigation took place, but Flowers resigned as chair of the board of trustees before the process was completed, the statement said.
The statement added that the matter was "fully reported to the Charity Commission".
National media outlets reported this morning that Flowers had been arrested overnight in connection with an ongoing drugs supply investigation.
A statement from the commission confirmed that Lifeline informed it in 2004 of concerns about expenses payments made to a former trustee.
The commission said: "It appears that our main concern at the time was the governance of the charity, which had allowed unlawful expense payments to be authorised."
The commission said the charity had addressed these concerns satisfactorily, but had subsequently sought formal advice from the commission about taking legal proceedings against a former trustee to recover £65,000 of expenses.
"We explained to the charity that we could not consider providing this advice until several outstanding matters were addressed by the charity."
The commission said there was no evidence to support suggestions that the former trustee had acted in bad faith, claimed expenses for activities outside of charity business or had the financial resources to repay any sums.
The commission would not name the trustee, but said: "We are now writing to the charity of which the former trustee of Lifeline Projects is still a trustee to reassure ourselves that it is satisfied its governance systems are robust and there are no concerns relating to the issues raised by Lifeline Projects."
It said it would write to all the charities of which the trustee in question has served as a trustee "for the same purpose".
Third Sector contacted Lifeline for a response to the Charity Commission’s claims about its governance, but no one was available as this story went to press.